Union Members With Harper Mills in Beckley to Hold Candlelight Vigil

harper mills
Frontline workers have been bravely providing care and services for nursing home residents at Harper Mills amid the COVID19 pandemic. In labor negotiations, Stonerise Healthcare, has been advancing proposals that would eliminate a retirement benefit and strip dietary workers of their Union membership. 

Staff Contact: Carol Walters at (740) 709-9004
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 18th

BECKLEY, West Virginia – Members of SEIU District 1199 with Harper Mills, a long-term care facility, in Beckley, will hold a candlelight vigil from 4PM to 5PM on Thursday, November 19th. Workers at the outdoor vigil will wear masks and practice protocols for COVID19. The vigil will be held at the corner of Heartland Drive and Dry Hill Road.

Union members at the facility are deeply concerned about concessions being proposed by management that could damage employee retention, strip union representation, and remove a retirement benefit. These proposals come while workers with Harper Mills have been working heroically.

“We are in the middle of a devastating pandemic and these dedicated workers should be able to look ahead to better days,” said Carol Walters, West Virginia Director with SEIU District 1199. “It’s more than symbolic – the dedicated workers at Harper Mills deserve better than to lose their retirement match in a pandemic.”

Stonerise Healthcare, which owns Harper Mills, has requested in labor negotiations that workers agree to give up their current 401K retirement match of 2%. Management has only proposed a $0.10/HR raise despite their dedicated and frontline work at the facility.

Management with Stonerise Healthcare is also requesting that some workers at the facility lose membership with SEIU District 1199. In 2019, a member who had worked at the facility for over 20 years was improperly terminated, an independent legal review concluded. By the time a finding was reached, Stonerise Healthcare had outsourced the worker’s position, which prevented her from being able return to the job she cared about. Workers now say that management has proposed taking away union representation from members in the same department.

“Taking away Union representation, ending the retirement match, and a $0.10 cent raise. This isn’t the way to thank the workers that do this important work,” continued Carol Walters. “The people in this area been very supportive of the workers at Harper Mills. These proposals aren’t about quality care and may increase turnover. These workers have been brave and deserve better,” concluded Walters. 

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